COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Proposals to raise the minimum wage in South Carolina and repeal an anti-union law have virtually no chance of passing in the Republican-dominated Legislature. But Democrats hope to spark a debate as the nation’s attention turns to the first-in-the-South primary state. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter says it’s time to discuss living wages in a state that ranks 46th in child poverty, 48th in per capita income and last in union membership.
One bill would set the state’s minimum wage at $10.10 an hour. South Carolina is among 21 states where employers can pay $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum. The other bill would repeal the state’s right-to-work status. The law means unions can’t force employees across an entire worksite to pay membership dues. Republicans contend the bills would hurt the economy.